With more than 225 stores in greater Philadelphia, TD Bank employs more than 6,000 people in the region and manages deposits of over $24 billion. Overseeing all that is Michael Carbone, a Rowan University alumnus who has been in the banking industry for more than 25 years, helping the Cherry Hill- and Portland, Maine-based TD Bank claim the largest market share in South Jersey. He successfully guided his team through the transition from Commerce Bank, after it was acquired by TD Bank, and he has overseen community efforts including WOW!Zone, a financial literacy program that has reached more than 20,000 local classrooms. We asked Carbone about his outlook on leadership, management and the secrets to success.
“Great leadership means to me simply that [employees] know they have a go-to person that will stand side by side with them through thick and thin, and that will deliver to them all the means necessary to execute and be part of a winning team.”
Keys to a successful corporate transition:
“The first thing is you create a mindset that we are one company, one team, and everyone is part of that one team—and if you can’t buy into that, you’re not going to be successful. It makes the transition much easier. The most important thing whenever you’re going through a transition and a name change is that you communicate and be very transparent to your team members as well as your customers. Nobody likes surprises.… Our No. 1 focus was on our customers by making sure that we created the best experience, by taking the very best parts of all the entities that we were putting together... When you make the customer your focus, you do things the right way. “
Biggest challenge ahead:
“Maintaining consistency. I think if you have a good attitude you can do anything, and never being satisfied is the challenge. Even though we’ve been very fortunate to get through the financial crisis, you can’t rest on your laurels. You have to keep coming up with different products and services to keep it fresh, and you have to communicate with employees to keep them up to date on what the organization is doing. And you have to keep it fun so that customers can feel that positive energy.”
On driving employee engagement:
“Rewards and recognition of employees are a great way to keep it fun. Or when our sports teams are in the playoffs, having ‘support your team Fridays’ where you wear the jersey of your favorite team. Or having summer reading programs or financial literacy education at the schools…. You do things that bring your team together, not just inside the stores or the office, but also outside the stores and in the community.”
Secret to success:
“I didn’t make making money the most important thing to me when I got into the business; I made learning and executing what I was supposed to be doing the most important. I just felt the money would come as I learned to do the job. I think too many people get caught up in trying to make money as opposed to learning to be the best they can be at their job. And I’m still learning every day: there’s always something new that you don’t know that might enable you to help your team, your client or your community.”
“ “212: The Extra Degree [by Sam Parker]. It’s based on how the number one can make a difference. For example, water boils at 212 degrees, but at 211 it’s just hot. If every one of our stores got one new account every day, what would that mean to our business? That would be 225 new accounts across our stores—and in 240 business days, that’s 54,000 new accounts. By everyone doing one more, the impact on your business can be immense.”
Business role model:
“ “Warren Buffet. He never changed who he was, and he’s never let the money part of it go to his head. And then I look at our CEO Ed Clark, and Bharat Masrani, our CEO here in the U.S., and how they managed our organization through the financial crisis.”
In his briefcase:
“ “I have my two BlackBerries and my laptop. I always want to be connected to the world and my team. I have a policy that I’m available 24/7. Send me a text or an email, or call me, and I will get back to you. Being available is important. These gadgets keep me connected.”
“I play golf—I’m just not very good at it. I really like to read anything, no matter what it may be. And I do like to race cars: I have a GT-R, an Evo and a 350Z that I like to race when I have the chance to do it … because I can’t read my BlackBerry when I’m racing around the track!”
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 1, Issue 5 (May, 2011).
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